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India exporting defence equipment to friendly countries: Official

KOLKATA (PTI): India is stressing on increasing export of defence equipment to friendly nations and has received queries from some central Asian countries, a Defence Ministry official has said.

The country is already exporting defence equipment to various friendly nations, including the US and those in the Middle-East, South Asia and Africa, Secretary of the Department of Defence Production under the ministry, Ajay Kumar, said in Kolkata on Saturday.

India had produced defence-related equipment worth Rs 80,000 crore in 2018-19, of which Rs 11,000-crore worth armaments were exported, he added.

"We are exporting everything related to armaments, but the biggest increase has been in the component level," Kumar said after the launch of a fast patrol vessel (FPV) manufactured by defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) for the Indian Coast Guard.

He added that all types of components made by Indian defence production units were being bought by large and reputed companies worldwide.

"This clearly indicates that our defence industry has the capability to fulfil the requirements of global OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and not just our own requirements," Kumar said, adding that the country is currently exporting defence equipment to South-East Asia, Middle-East Asia and even to the US.

"Many of the global OEMs we are exporting to are US-listed. We are also exporting to South Asia, Africa and have also received requirements from countries in central Asia," he said.

The country is indigenously manufacturing warships, fighter jets, helicopters, trainer aircraft and efforts are always on to use the latest technology for the purpose, he added.

Kumar said the naval shipyards were ahead in indigenous production, manufacturing warships like corvettes, frigates, destroyers and also submarines and aircraft carriers.

He said there were three or four companies in the country that made artillery guns, including the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which was making state-of-the-art long-range guns and tanks.

"We are continuously making efforts to use the latest technology for the productions and also to increase capacity," he said.

Lauding the GRSE for becoming the first naval shipyard in the country to manufacture 100 warships, a feat that the defence PSU achieved earlier this year, Kumar said the FPV launched on Saturday was indigenously designed.

"We have set a goal for the GRSE to manufacture warships for other countries as well," he said.

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